Government departments ordered to publish quarterly sickness absence stats

'Bad management' to blame for civil service shortcomings

Government departments are to be forced to publish quarterly sickness absence rates for all their staff in an effort to ease the burden on the public purse.

The crackdown on so-called ‘sickie’ culture is being ordered by Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister responsible for the civil service, who says “bad management” is costing taxpayers £3.4bn a year.

Official figures show public sector workers are 63% more likely to go off sick than their private sector counterparts.

Maude told the Daily Telegraph central government departments are poor at measuring sickness absence rates and in the future will have to publish reports detailing the scale of the problem.

He said: “It's often down to bad management. If you do the stats properly, you can sometimes find clusters of sickness absence which is often associated with a bad manager.”

“One of the things we're introducing is that every department will have to publish, on a quarterly basis, their sickness absence levels, so you can see the trend and can compare.”

The move follows plans announced last week by the Cabinet Office minister to reform the civil service, which includes weeding out poor performers to improve the delivery of public services.

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